Ananias laying on of hands on Paul by Pietro da Cortona 1631

Ananias was God’s instrument to convert Saul, the Jewish persecutor of Christians, into Paul, the proclaimer of Christ. We, too, can be God’s instrument.

The story is told in chapter 9 of the Acts of the Apostles. Briefly, Saul was traveling to Damascus from Jerusalem “breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples,” essentially desiring to arrest the disciples and transport them as prisoners to Jerusalem. On the way, Saul encountered Christ in a flashing light from heaven. Christ spoke to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” Saul asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?” and Jesus replied, “I am Jesus…now get up and go into the city and you will be told what to do.” At this point, Saul was blind from the flashing light.

In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord spoke to him, commanding him to meet Saul and place his hands on him that he may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit. Upon doing so, Saul could once again see and then began preaching Christ as the Messiah.

Here is one of many essential points; God chose a person to act for Him, rather than simply converting Saul on the spot.

We, too, can be God’s instrument to bring sight to someone in spiritual darkness. My guess is that we will not hear from God as directly as Ananias did­; we, most likely, will perceive by some small, still voice, perhaps even in the form of a small gesture of loving kindness.

And there is another insight for us. We may be the ones who are blinded and so let us pray that God sends an Ananias to us.